Sunday, November 6, 2011

Perfection

I used to think that I was a pretty good person.


I mean, I knew nobody is perfect. But I used to think that if anyone was close to perfect, I'd be it.


I didn't lie, or cheat. I was kind, helpful, generous. I was considerate, I followed the rules. I was a good student, had many friends, and was well-liked by all who knew me.


In church, we talk about sin, about our sinful nature as humans. I disliked that term. I hated thinking that I was sinful, or of sin. It was a dirty word, and I didn't want to associate myself with it. I was different, I thought. I was doing pretty well, so far. Doing pretty good, in fact.


Little did I know, then, that my biggest, largest flaw, was pride.




I continued to think that I was an almost-perfect person, an almost-perfect friend. Oh, what a wonderful person I am! What a wonderful testimony I must be as a Christian! I never said any of this out loud, of course. I mean, people would think I'm some egotistical self-praising obnoxious prick! I am only admitting this now, many many manyyyy years later, that these thoughts were there, somewhere, deep within me. Just because nobody else knew, I thought, again, that I was almost-perfect.


In retrospect, I believe that is why my spiritual life never really grew. I believe that is why I never really had a relationship with this God I call Father. It was because I believed I was almost-perfect, that I never really saw the need for Him. Why should I, when I was already this close to perfect? I was doing fine on my own. Did I really have to depend on Him?




Until, of course, this recent incident that I talked about in the previous post.


He showed me who I was, at that moment. I guess not so much who I was, but who I could be, or who I could turn into. It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was horrible, and ugly.


I was ashamed of myself. My almost-perfect illusion of myself was finally shattered, but honestly, what a liberating feeling it is, now! I can see myself maybe a little clearer now. I can see my pride. I can see my wrong.


It was painful, yes. And I broke down that evening, tasting regret and shame in my salty tears. But it was only then that I knew, I really knew, that I needed God. Who else could make me realize this about myself? Who else could touch me in this way? Who else could give me the strength to make things better? Who else could ultimately change me?




Today, I realized something else.


Sometimes, we are not the best testimonies for Christ when we live perfect lives, as perfect people who can do no wrong. That is not the goal of this life on earth. Yes, we strive to be like Jesus, but not in living the perfectly blameless life that He did when He was here. No, even God knows it's impossible.


On the contrary, I think we are the best testimonies when we fail, when we fall, and then we pick ourselves up with God-given strength and make things right with Him, and with whomever we have hurt. It is only then that people can see that as Christians, we struggle with the same things everyone else does--we're only human; but it is because we have Christ in us that we have the power to fight our sinful nature and rise above it.


I am sure you have heard the saying, "Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, courage is facing your fears head-on despite it."


So let us have a new definition for "perfection", one that is attainable: 


"Perfection is not the absence of faults. Rather, perfection is acknowledging your faults and making things right, despite them."






With God's hand holding mine, I believe I can achieve perfection. :)

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